After reports that the Country Music Association deleted all traces of Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks from its website and social media channels after backlash to their much-hyped surprise performance at the CMA Awards on Wednesday, the organization denies that it erased anything except a promotional clip.
“CMA has not erased any mentions of Beyoncé’s performance on the CMA Awards,” a CMA spokesman said in a statement. “In advance of the broadcast, CMA removed a 5-second promotional clip from ABC.com and CMA’s Facebook page. The promo was unapproved and CMA removed it prior to the broadcast.”
“Beyoncé’s performance with Dixie Chicks was a highlight of the evening and we are continuing to share the amazing full-length performance clip via our official social channels,” the statement continued, with a link to the clip on ABC.com.
Earlier Thursday, various websites reported that after Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks’ performance of “Daddy Lessons” received racist and angry comments across social media, the CMAs scrubbed any mention of two acts from the official CMA Twitter, Instagram and website. TMZ said the CMA executives “were especially concerned about the reaction to Beyoncé’s support and the support of the Dixie Chicks for the Black Lives Matter movement.”
On Thursday afternoon, the CMAs posted a link to the full-length performance to its Facebook page; they also published a photo on Instagram and included Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks in a Twitter photo montage. TMZ and other sites reported that the organization only did this after people called them out for erasing everything in the first place; Beyoncé’s fiercely loyal fandom flooded the comments sections on the new images and video.
In an interview with the New York Times on Thursday evening, CMAs CEO Sarah Trahern “denied that any nefarious deleting had taken place” and said they were waiting until they had approval from Beyoncé’s team to post other images and video of the performance. “Fans can get kind of passionate and read other things into it,” Trahern said.
Meanwhile, the Dixie Chicks Twitter account retweeted a tweet that accused the CMAs of trying to “cover up” the performance, and encouraged fans to “drown out the hate” with a link to the full studio version of “Daddy Lessons.”
Of course, there’s no love lost between the Dixie Chicks and the country music establishment, as the trio has been largely absent for the past decade since the fallout over lead vocalist Natalie Maines’s criticisms about President George W. Bush. Maines also tweeted from her personal Twitter account when fans asked her about the situation: